Happy New Year!
Well, sort of. Today is not the beginning of the New Year as you generally celebrate it, but it is the beginning of the New Year nonetheless… the Jewish New Year. Today is what is known as Rosh Hashana. And since one fourth of the blood running through your veins is Jewish I thought you might want to know a few things about this other New Year. Even if you don’t, humor me, read on, and perhaps you will learn something about your heritage.
1) Today marks the beginning of the High Holy Days on the Jewish calendar. They begin with Rosh Hashana and culminate 10 days later with Yom Kippur. These 10 days are also known as the “Days of Awe.”
2) Rosh Hashana is also known as the Day of Trumpets. It is marked by the blowing of the shofar (or ram’s horn) in Jewish synagogues around the world. It is meant to be a call to repentance at the beginning of the New Year.
3) One of the themes of the Days of Awe is that on Rosh Hashana God opens the Book of Life but it is not closed and sealed until Yom Kippur 10 days later. Jews are given a chance to make things right with God and their fellow Jews and thus have their names inscribed in the Book of Life before it closes.
4) Orthodox Jews take part in a ceremony known as Tashlich on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. They go to a creek or river (flowing water), cast bread crumbs from their pockets into the water and say a prayer from Micah 7:18-19, symbolically casting their sins into the water. 18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance. He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
Here is what I want you to learn: Like ALL the Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashana points us forward to a greater day when the Messiah Jesus will bring completeness to the mysteries unveiled in the Hebrew Scriptures through the Jewish holidays.
One day there will be a trumpet blast that will usher in a new forever… 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
One day your name will forever be inscribed in the Book of Life – when you call on the Name of the Lord and find forgiveness in Him. 12 Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)
One day everyday will be a Day of Awe as we gather before our God and worship… 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory… (Revelation 19:6-7)
Happy New Year!
And never ever forget that you are very loved!